The very basic run down is there's a "magical" city that randomly turns people into gods. One day you're a whiny farmboy, the next morning you're a whiny deity with glowing skin, who can write magic spells in the in the air. (There are no whiny farmboys in this book.) Then ten years ago the magical city, Elantris, became much less magical and all the Elantrians became more ghoulish than godlike. Since then the city curses people instead of blessing them and basically turns them into zombies. The zombies get gathered up and thrown into the slum pit Elantris has become and are left there to die.... completely.
My main problem with this book is that a lot of the character's goals get dropped or become irrelevant before they're completed. Also I wish more time would have been spent in Elantris and less on the actions of the other characters for the previously mentioned reason. The princess could have probably been removed with little effect to the plot. Finally the story felt too happy. Sanderson didn't want to make it gritty, but it never got within shouting distance of that till the second half.
This book probably has my favorite opening line of any book I've read so far and the villain is more interesting and more conflicted than I'm use to but after reading Mistborn, Warbreaker and The Way of Kings, Elantris fell short in places.
The narration was enjoyable but it didn't really stand out either.
I read the reviews on some people saying it was "predictable" or no "character depth". However, being that I've loved all his other books (esp Mistborn and The Way of Kings) I gave this one a try finally.
Yes, some of it was predictable, some of it was not. Doesn't make it a bad book. The book was great. Made me laugh and get goose bumps at certain points. Narrator does a good job. I was sad when it ended.
Listen to the reviewers who call this work contrived and even silly. I love Sanderson (Mistborn is my favorite series) but this book was hard to deal with. The idea was amazing..... but the execution is terrible. It is VERY obvious that this is his first work. If you are looking for more Mistborn... look elsewhere.
The reader for this audiobook was annoying to me. The reading was so overly dramatic (even during the most un-dramatic parts of the book) that it sounded like the narrator was satirizing fantasy. The reader's insistence on inappropriate dramatic inflection further highlighted the contrived feeling of this book.
somewhat predictable, but most stories are to some extent. the twists added to the standard fantasy formula are what make this book shine. the narration is excelent. my favorite aspect of this book is the way the underlying mystery, which is the linch pin to the whole story, is allowed to grow at such a nice easy pace. supporting several subplots that are sharing center stage with great ease. if you're a fan of the fanasy genre, you will enjoy this book.
This has to be one of the worst books I have read in years. Sanderson seems to have distilled all of the worst in fantasy writing into one book. It also reads like he wrote this when he was 14. The story is uncompelling and remarkably unbelievable. The characters come off more as characitures than as people. The dialogue is about as campy and uninteresting as anything I've come across since I stopped reading Amazing Spiderman comics when I was a kid. The novel is so juvenile that it is impossible to shrug off disbelief and become immersed in it.
Disappointing considering I thought Mistborn, while overrated, was really worthwhile.
As usual, Brandon Sanderson has weaved a rich story line. I highly recommend this book. I hope there will be a sequel in which these wonderful characters can come to life once more.
I absolutely love the Mistborn Trilogy and The Way of Kings, so I thought I'd give Elantris (his first novel) a chance. I REALLY wanted to like it, I tried so hard! I failed. I understood the world in which the author was trying to create, but I was not engrossed by it. I don't care about the characters at all, all they do is spout platitudes. It just seemed flat, and lacking somehow. I got tired of listening, and set my iPod at double speed just to get through it. Thankfully, the author has improved his writing by leaps and bounds since this first attempt.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
I actually went online to see how old the author is because this book has some very naive concepts in it. Like, really, how can anyone think that a nation can change from a capitalist to a feudal type system in 10 years? It's 10 years buddy, not a generation. OMG, are we supposed to believe that the WHOLE NATION sat on its duff while an upstart king took over and changed the rules, and laws, and property distribution? yeah, uh-huh.
The main female character is 25. Which means 10 years earlier she was 15. And yet she "forgets" fundamental things about her uncle, like how to pronounce his name. A 15 year old can't remember her uncle's name? O-kay...
And if I read any more half-baked pro-feminism gibberish I'm going to throw the book out. Okay, I GET it... Sanderson tries to pass a message about how women are strong by showing how stupid it looks when they are treated as weak. He must have taken a Feminism 101 course at a local college.
The biggest shame of it all is that the actual story is interesting and I want to know what happens. I just don't want to read about adolescent understandings of economies, gender equality and religion in the process.
Luckily I received Mistborn as a gift after listening to Elantris. Everything about this is terrible. You have no idea whay certain characters are motivated to come and go, what they hope to do or why they might do it, and worst of all, it is so badly outlined that it requires a narrator to even have any direction. By direction, I do not mean the plot moves, rather I mean that you obtain a rudimentary understanding just good enough to go on with. Even with the narrator, there is nothing compelling, no reason to care, and many reasons to burn so it is not added to a library.
I honestly believe this must have been a hghschool "nerd" composition, as he wished to become Robert Jordan. I imagine tit was published after Mistborn was signed as a publishers "money grab."
All I can say is - DO NOT let this terrible book turn you away from other book by Sanderson. He is becoming a top ten author, and hopefully continues creatively, and does not burn out in 2 or 3 books, yet send us on another 10+ book epic trail.
A shallow, utterly predictable offering from an author who has gotten much better since this novel. You'll be embarrassed to have anyone else around while you listen to Elantris.